In search of “Great Beauty”

In the center of the plot of this film is a socialite, the king of Roman bohemia, with the somewhat gangster name Jep Gambardella. In his life, he probably achieved everything one could wish for. Wide recognition, fame, wealth, great attention from the fairer sex even at 65 years old… He works in a glossy publication. Sometimes she writes interviews or reports for him. However, this activity does not bring him pleasure. Many years ago, he wrote one single book, which provided him with the image of a writer. However, since then he has not created anything.

“When I turned 65, I realized one very important thing. From now on, I don’t have time to do what I don’t want,” Jep says somewhat narcissistically, but you must agree, he says quite rightly.

The main character spent the majority of his life in the very center of Roman bohemia, basking in luxury and wealth. He is so full of life that, probably, there is nothing in the whole world that could amaze him or at least somehow entertain him. In fact, this is what he suffers from. In his old age, he was faced with the fatal feeling that the world around him was empty, and there was no room left in it for truly majestic beauty.

Her search is, in fact, the main motive of the film. Despite the fact that the entire film takes place in the very center of Rome, not a single anal panorama of the city appears in it. Considering that thousands of films have been shot in the capital of Italy over the past hundred years, in which you can see literally all the beauties of the Eternal City, this technique of the authors of “The Great Beauty” cannot but impress. Director Paolo Sorrentino managed to open up a completely new side of Rome to the viewer.

This filmmaker is famous for his films “Wherever You Are” and “Amazing”, which received prestigious awards at the Cannes Film Festival. “The Great Beauty” also competed for the Palme d’Or, but in the end did not receive a single award on the Cote d’Azur. Well, in recent years, this legendary film festival has seen a somewhat sad trend of truly great films not winning key awards. This happened, for example, with last year’s masterpiece by Leos Carax “Holly Motors”.

However, the inattention of the Cannes jury was compensated by four awards from the European Film Academy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a number of other prestigious prizes.

With his “Beauty,” Sorrentino challenges Fellini’s work in a way. This film is a kind of sequel to the legendary film of the Italian classic – “The Sweet Life”.

Both of these films are filled with accurate replicas of modern bourgeois society. Degenerating aristocracy, religious absurdity, apathetic rich people and their children lost in life – all this forms a picture of the grotesque Roman society of both the 60s (when La Dolce Vita was filmed) and the 2010s.

At one time, the Americans Woody Allen (“Stardust Memories”) and Rob Marshall (“Nine”), as well as the Georgian Georgiy Shengelaya (“And the Train Came Along”) tried to interpret or make a sequel to other Felinie films. However, all these tapes were nothing more than a plaster copy of the exquisite marble sculptures by Fellini.

Well, Sorrentino’s creation became the first film in history comparable to the works of the Italian classic. Thus, the author of the film about Jep Gambardella proved to the whole world that the era of decline of the outstanding cinema of the Apennine Peninsula is ending. And in modern Italian cinema there is a place for “The Great Beauty”.